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World Leaders Set Out Proposals to Prevent Future Financial Crises

Leaders from industrial and developing countries have agreed on a set of principles to keep financial markets open and to prevent further economic weakening.

The leaders of the G-20 countries resolved at a summit in Washington Saturday to take whatever further actions are necessary to stabilize the financial system. They pledged to strengthen the regulation of financial markets and committed to protect financial markets by bolstering investor and consumer protection.

The joint statement issued after the meeting asks individual governments to introduce economic stimulus packages to increase consumer spending.

But the declaration also stresses the need for international cooperation, calling for greater information sharing. It proposes modernizing the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and says both institutions should give better representation to developing countries. The statement asks the IMF and other financial institutions to begin implementing the proposals by March 31.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting adjourned, U.S. President George Bush said the emergency summit was "very successful."

Leaders have expressed some disagreement on how best to stabilize the financial system, and, in particular, how much oversight and regulation should be imposed on financial institutions. But participants also stressed the value of the meeting, whatever its outcome.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that this is the first time developing and advanced economies were meeting together at the world leader level.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.